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Take Your Medicine

March 25, 2011 permalink

Child protectors backed up by police showed up at the home of an unnamed Detroit mother to take her teenaged daughter for medical treatment. The mother had not been giving the girl her medicine, which mom thought was doing more harm than good. Since the girl is described as having mental problems, its a good guess that she had been prescribed psychotropic drugs. When police entered the home, they were stopped by a gunshot, and a standoff lasted all night. It is now over and the mother and daughter are in police custody.



Overnight standoff between Detroit police, mother ends

standoff on Blaine Street near Linwood in Detroit
Special Response Team officers with the Detroit police get in position near a home on Blaine St. near Linwood in Detroit during a standoff on Thursday, March 24, 2011.
BRIAN KAUFMAN/Detroit Free Press

After a standoff lasting through the night, a Detroit mother came out of a west side home with her teenage daughter and surrendered to police at about 4:45 a.m. today.

The mom, police said, was not injured.

Police said the standoff began when Child Protective Services arrived at about 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the home on Blaine near Linwood with an order to take the child into custody.

Two Detroit police officers kicked in a side door and were about to kick in another door, when the mother shot at them, police said.

Throughout the night, the mother barricaded herself in the home with her 13-year-old daughter.

The mother had not backed down, but had asked police for a pizza for her daughter.

Earlier Thursday, the woman offered to give herself up to a local minister. She asked for Minister Malik Shabazz, who spoke with the woman on the phone and said she told him the state was trying to take her child, who has a mental illness, for medical treatment.

The mother, Shabazz said, favors holistic methods.

“She’s a mother protecting her child,” said Shabazz, who is a co-founder of Detroit 300, a citizen group. “She did tell me that she’ll give herself up to me.”

Detroit Police spokeswoman Sgt. Eren Stephens said Child Protective Services arrived at the home at about 5:35 p.m.

Patrisha Navarro, who said she lives on Blaine, and Shantique Johnson, who lives on a nearby street, said they heard the gunshot ring out after protective services and police arrived at the home.

Source: Detroit Free Press

Addendum: The mother is Maryanne Godboldo. She agreed to give up to police after CPS promised her daughter would be placed with a relative instead of foster care. The promise was broken immediately. According to other sources, the drug prescribed for her daughter is Risperdal



Maryanne Godboldo
Maryanne Godboldo

Detroit mother jailed after standoff

Detroiter faces felonies in dispute over daughter's medication; shot fired, police say

Detroit — A 56-year-old woman faces multiple felony charges and is being held on $500,000 bond after a 10-hour standoff with police, claiming she was protecting her 13-year-old daughter from unnecessary medication.

Maryanne Godboldo, 56, was arraigned Sunday before 36th District Magistrate Sidney Barthwell Jr. on charges of firing a weapon in a dwelling, felonious assault, resisting and obstructing an officer, and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. Barthwell set an April 8 preliminary examination.

"What has happened here is a travesty," said Wanda A. Evans, Godboldo's attorney. "This family has never been under the jurisdiction of the court. This shouldn't have happened."

Godboldo is accused of barricading herself inside her west side home with her 13-year-old daughter and a gun after being confronted Thursday afternoon by Child Protective Services workers who had a warrant to remove the girl because the mother had withheld her medication. Detroit Police said Godboldo fired a shot and refused to leave the home until negotiators, including a Wayne County judge, helped talk her into surrendering.

"We talked that day mother-to-mother. I asked her to come out on her porch and I promised I would come here today to walk out with her," Wayne Circuit Judge Deborah Thomas said Sunday after the hearing. "I'm shocked by the amount of the bond. I never dreamed it would be set so high and she wouldn't be free to care for her daughter."

Godboldo's family and supporters, who gathered outside the court Sunday, said the woman has every right to make medical decisions for her daughter and that child welfare workers overstepped their authority. The unusual circumstances of the standoff attracted a large crowd of volunteers offering to help negotiate with Godboldo, including ministers and community activists.

Thomas said she eventually talked Godboldo out with a promise her daughter would be turned over to a relative, but family members say the girl was taken into protective custody anyway. Evans said a hearing on removal of the child will be April 6 before Wayne County Juvenile Referee Leslie Graves.

Penny Godboldo, a dance professor at Marygrove College, said she and her sister, Maryanne, trained as dancers in New York before opening a studio in Detroit. Maryanne Godboldo became a stay-at-home mother after the troubled birth of her daughter, who was born with a defective foot that required amputation of her leg below the knee.

Maryanne Godboldo home-schooled the girl. She said her strength and confidence grew, and despite her handicap, she swam, sang, danced and played the piano.

Penny Godboldo said as her niece approached middle school age, she wanted to attend school but needed to catch up on required immunizations.

"We believe she had an adverse reaction to her immunizations," Penny Godboldo said.

"She began acting out of character, being irritated, having facial grimaces that have been associated with immunizations."

Evans said Maryanne Godboldo sought help for her daughter from The Children's Center, an organization that helps families with at-risk children, where a medical and mental health treatment plan was developed. Godboldo told relatives the medications ordered by the doctor worsened symptoms, including behavioral problems.

"It is an undiagnosed condition, but the doctor had given her psychotropic drugs that caused a bad reaction, made things worse," said the girl's father, Mubuarak Hakim. "Maryanne's decision to wean her from that was making a difference, making her better, helping her to be a happy kid again."

A rally for Godboldo is planned for 9 a.m. Saturday at Hartford Memorial Baptist Church, 18700 James Couzens Freeway.

Source: Detroit News

Addendum: After a public outcry, Godboldo was released. There is a website Justice for Maryanne Godboldo



Maryanne Godboldo
Maryanne Godboldo

Detroit mom released from jail in standoff over daughter's meds

Detroit— A woman charged with using a gun to hold off police when Wayne County Child Protective Services workers came to take her daughter in a dispute over the 13-year-old's medication was released today from jail.

"I feel wonderful and I'm very excited to see my daughter," Maryanne Godboldo, 56, said after leaving this afternoon from the Wayne County Jail. "The support of the community has been unbelievable."

Earlier today, 36th District Judge Paula Humphries reduced Godboldo's $500,000 cash surety bond to a $200,000 personal recognizance bond. The reduction meant Godboldo, jailed since Friday morning when she surrendered to police after a 10-hour standoff in which she is alleged to have fired a shot, was released without posting any money.

Defense attorney Allison Folmer had argued today that the original bond was "enormous" and "excessive" for a woman with no criminal record and no record of mental health issues. Folmer said Godboldo was faced with authorities breaking into her home and attempting to "wrongfully remove her child."

"Bond is set only to assure a defendant will return to court," Folmer told the judge. "With people looking at this case nationally, she will return to court. She wants to fight these charges."

Humphries said she didn't see Godboldo as a risk to the public, and noted Godboldo has the support not only of a large local family, but a growing number of national advocates. A broad spectrum of activists, conservatives, liberals and anti-immunization parental and civil rights groups are expected to attend a rally at 9 a.m. Saturday to support Godboldo at Hartford Memorial Baptist Church, 18700 James Couzens Freeway.

"We are going to have an extremely interesting collection of Americans who believe in the sanctity of family, conservatives and liberals, coming together for this mother," said one of the event's organizers, Ron Scott of the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality. "We have received word that people are coming from the holistic health community and even representatives of the tea party in west Michigan."

The original bond was set Sunday by 36th District Magistrate Sidney Barthwell Jr. when Godboldo was arraigned on charges of felony assault, resisting and opposing police and firing a firearm in commission of a felony.

Barthwell noted that a police report in the court file said Godboldo fired a shot at three Detroit Police officers who entered her west-side home after breaking down the door Thursday afternoon. The report said the officers were called by Wayne County Child Protective Services workers who had a warrant, signed by a Wayne County Circuit judge ordering the removal of Godboldo's daughter.

Police and protective service workers retreated after the shot was fired and a 10-hour standoff ended Friday morning after negotiators, including ministers, civil rights activists and a Wayne County Circuit Court judge, rushed to the scene to help police negotiate with Godboldo.

Detroit Police initially turned the girl over to her aunt, Penny Godboldo, a professor of dance at Marygrove College. But the girl was later taken into state custody from a hospital where her physical condition was being evaluated after the standoff.

The girl has been allowed visits at a state-run facility for juveniles from her father, Mubuarak Hakim, and Penny Godboldo.

"She's OK," Hakim said Tuesday. "I'm not OK with it, though, and we are working at bringing her home, bringing them both home."

Godboldo's lawyers, Folmer and Wanda Evans, claim Protective Services had no authority to take the girl, and they have requested a hearing on custody April 6, in Wayne County Juvenile Court. A preliminary examination of criminal charges against Godboldo will be April 8, in the city's 36th District Court.

Lawyers and family say Godboldo's dispute with authorities is over a medical and mental health treatment plan that had called for psychotropic drugs the mother felt were doing more harm than good.

Godboldo has said her daughter's physical and mental problems are a bad reaction to a cocktail of immunizations the formerly homeschooled teen took so she could be enrolled last year in a regular middle school.

Evans has said the medical treatment plan was voluntarily developed between the mother and specialists at The Children's Center, an organization that helps "at-risk children." The court had no prior involvement with the family and had previously not granted authority to social workers to countermand the parent's right to make medical decisions, Evans said.

One of the many people who rushed to the scene of the standoff to help talk Godboldo out of her house was Wayne County Circuit Judge Deborah Thomas, a former polio sufferer and advocate for the disabled.

The girl has had only one foot since birth. She walks with the aid of a prosthesis. Thomas, who said she didn't know the family before the incident, has said her examination of the warrant Protective Services workers presented to Godboldo revealed that it contained "defects."

Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor William Burton unsuccessfully argued before Humphries today that Godboldo is a danger because the police report describes officers being sprayed with plaster dust by a shot that struck a nearby wall.

Folmer told Humphries that Godboldo didn't shoot intentionally at police, and the issue is complicated by the constitutional rights of parents to make decisions for their children and a homeowner's right to defend herself.

"It was my client who had to endure the onslaught of police unlawfully taking her child," Folmer said.

Source: Detroit News

Addendum: Richard Wexler comments on the bias in the press coverage of this story.



UPDATED, APRIL 7: Foster care in Michigan: CPS plays “the muscle game”

To the surprise of absolutely no one familiar with how courts operate in these cases, in the case discussed in the previous post to this Blog, a judge in Detroit has rubber-stamped the institutionalization of Maryanne Godboldo’s daughter and her continued separation from her mother.

Lawyers for Godboldo are appealing. But for now, this means this 13-year-old girl, already in foster care five times longer than Leo Ratte, the upper-middle-class white child in the Mike’s Hard Lemonade case, will remain institutionalized indefinitely.

And what of the Detroit Free Press, which has lagged behind on the story? They finally produced something more than a news brief. The Free Press, which rightly rushed to the defense of Leo Ratte and his college professor parents, showed no such sympathy for the child of a Black single mother. On the contrary, not one person quoted in the story supported Ms. Godboldo’s position.

Instead, a CPS spokesman got four paragraphs to offer up the Disney version: We only take children when absolutely necessary, it’s a last resort, etc. etc.

The Free Press also quoted from the court order authorizing CPS to take away the children. Among other things, the order says that “mother is in denial about her daughter’s mental health issue.” (Yes, they still talk that way at CPS!)

As usual, The Detroit News had a more thorough story, including both sides. Their story quotes a CPS supervisor as saying a total of four “referrals” had been made about the child. It is quite possible, however, that three of them came from the same place – an institution where, Godboldo told WXYZ-TV, three separate employees had threatened to call CPS if she didn’t voluntarily admit her daughter.

But once again, it was Darrell Dawsey who first added real context to the story in his Blog for MLive Detroit, who advanced it once again today, with an interview with a doctor Godboldo turned to when psychiatric medication was making her child worse. Here’s some of Dawsey’s column:

"She did what she was supposed to do," says Dr. Margaret Betts, a veteran Detroit MD who specializes in holistic treatments and who consulted with … Godboldo on alternative treatments for her child. "The treatment they recommended wasn't helping. Maryanne sought further medical attention. She acted like a good parent. It's a parent's right to choose." …

"The treatment she was using was helping her daughter much better than the treatment (Child Protective Services) had recommended," explains Dr. Betts, who's practiced medicine for 25 years, in an exclusive interview with MLive Detroit. ..

“When the parent chose a different treatment,” says Dr. Betts, “CPS played a muscle game.”

So, just to review what either MLive Detroit, The Detroit News or WXYZ-TV have reported but which the Free Press omitted from today’s story:

  • Maryanne Godboldo sought out medical treatment for her daughter in the first place.
  • She agreed to give the child psychiatric medication.
  • It was only after the medication worsened her daughter’s condition that she sought a second medical opinion from Dr. Betts.
  • It was only after Dr. Betts said to do so that Ms. Godboldo started weaning her daughter off the psychiatric medication.
  • Ms. Godboldo says the people who turned her in to CPS all work for an institution that demanded she admit her daughter. It was when she refused that they called CPS. Can you say “conflict of interest”?

And even if a case could be made to deny custody to the mother, what about the father? According to the Detroit News story:

A lawyer for the girl's father, Mubuarak Hakim, also accused protective services of failing one of its mandates to keep families together by not trying to find the father or another relative with whom to place the girl. ...

The father's lawyer, Roger Farinha, said during the hearing that throughout her 13 days in state custody, the girl has still not been given the prescribed drug in question, and yet the authorities have said she has been stable in their care. "So maybe the mother was right," Farinha said.

In a classic example of the kind of hearsay that is standard operating procedure in these cases, the CPS supervisor claimed, however, that a counselor claimed the girl has become "agitated and aggressive" without her medications. But apparently she wasn’t on the medications before she was taken away, since that’s why she was taken away in the first place. And either way, if, in fact, the claim is true, it apparently occurred to neither the counselor nor the CPS supervisor that the girl may be "agitated and aggressive" because she is without her mother.

The choice here is between returning this child to the mother who loves her (or placing her with her father or another relative), vs. leaving her institutionalized and at the tender mercies of the Michigan child welfare system. The more you know about Michigan foster care, the easier it is to see why the best option is for Ms. Godboldo’s daughter to be freed from the institution immediately.

Source: Richard Wexler blog

Addendum: The girl, named Ariana Goldboldo by advocates, seems to have picked up a sexually transmitted disease in state care.



Stand-Off Daughter Allegedly Sexually Assaulted While In State Care

Maryanne Godboldo
Maryanne Godboldo.
(WWJ Photo: Stephanie Davis, file)

DETROIT (WWJ) - Supporters of a Detroit mother accused of firing a shot at Child Protective Services (CPS) workers and then holding police at bay for 12 hours say her 13-year-old daughter has been taken to the hospital and may have been sexually assaulted.

Now, there is a legal stand-off of sorts at Children’s Hospital, where the daughter of Maryanne Godboldo is in the emergency room.

Penny Godboldo, the child’s aunt, explained to WWJ’s Vickie Thomas that the family received a call from the facility where the child had been placed by CPS after the mother’s stand-off with police.

“[They] said that she tested positive for an STD and that they were bringing her to Children’s Hospital for an exam. And so, we believe that [she] was the victim of a sexual crime at Hawthorn because she has been in their care,” Penny Godboldo said.

The child was brought to Children’s Hospital on Monday night, after it was discovered she has an STD.

Penny Godboldo believes her niece was the victim of a sex crime while she was under state care at The Hawthorn Center in Northville, saying, “She has been in their care the entire time since she left Children’s Hospital.”

The teen was examined at Children’s Hospital prior to her placement at Hawthorn, which returned no results of an STD infection. The family maintains the daughter is not sexually active.

Now, the family is camping out at the hospital to make sure the child does not get released back to Hawthorn.

“We have done an all-night vigil protesting that. We are here at Children’s Hospital. We have been here since last night and we will not let that happen,” Penny Godboldo said.

When reached for comment, The Hawthorn Center told WWJ that employees are not allowed to speak to the media.

A CPS spokesperson told WWJ that in general, they investigate any allegations of assault, although they cannot comment on any specific cases.

The situation first caught headlines when 58-year-old Maryanne Godboldo entered a standoff with Detroit Police in late March that lasted nearly 12 hours. It began when Maryanne fired a shot at a CPS worker and police escort who arrived at her home in an attempt to take her 13-year-old daughter. CPS workers were there to take the girl after reports surfaced that the mother refused to give the child needed medication.

Maryanne Godboldo has said the state wanted her daughter to take a drug for psychosis, but she favors a holistic treatment.

Supporters are rallying behind the mother, saying their focus is on protecting parental rights. They believe CPS is overstepping their boundaries by trying to force their view on the family as to what kind of medication the girl should be given.

Maryanne Godboldo is charged with discharging a weapon in a dwelling, felonious assault, felony firearm, resisting arrest and obstruction of an officer.

Penny Godboldo is seeking temporary custody of the child at an emergency hearing Tuesday morning.

A juvenile court hearing has been scheduled for Wednesday to determine custody of the child. Maryanne Godboldo is expected to be in a 36th District Court on Friday for a hearing on the criminal charges.

Source: WWJ Newsradio 950